Garry Gillard > writing > Supertext > 2

Chapter 2: The Freudian model and the analysis of culture

The nature of text

This Chapter will set out the theoretical basis for this work. Firstly, it will establish the necessity of a methodology of textual analysis (a fundamental method used throughout the book), but not without also looking at what a text is in Freud (Freudian theory being the starting-point of the whole enterprise). I shall examine Freudian textual analysis in action to show that Freud demonstrates how the texts he discusses work on several levels. By further extending his own trajectory, I shall then suggest that there is at least one more level than those of which Freud is able to speak: a system which contains the nested set of systems that he looks at - that system being the culture that contains and constrains Freud's analysis.

The second section of the Chapter will define and show the potential of a notion which relates the fields of textuality and of culture, a notion encapsulated in what I call 'supertext'. The third part of the Chapter will suggest the utility of the hypothesis that the interaction between the individual human mind and the culture in which it is embedded can be considered to be systematic - and for this purpose I have suggested the use of the term 'mind-culture' system (or system MC). I begin with the Freudian text.

An essential Freudian text is the presentation of the patient - whether that take the form of observed or reported behaviour, an oral account, a written text, and whether the 'patient' - because I am using the term here in its widest connotation - is a real person that came to Freud for assistance, or a creative artist or historical figure, or even a society, or the civilization of an epoch. But perhaps the most essential text as such for Freud is the dream-text (because it was through dream analyses that he made some of his major discoveries) - but there are several separable productions of the dreamwork - or levels on which it produces texts. The notion of 'levels', I suggest, is intuitively appropriate to apply to a phenomenon which commonly generates locutions containing ideas of depth and surface: 'falling' into a 'deep' sleep, waking 'up', and so on. The first of these levels to present itself for analysis is the 'manifest dream,' in its primary process form, as it presents itself in thought. This is already complicated in Freud in that the dreamwork also produces what is translated as 'secondary revision,' though this is unfortunately a tautology: this 'revision' is part of the complicated process of the dreamwork. (I suggest also that another complication may be introduced by the notion of hypnagogia: the state of mind between sleeping and waking, in which dreamers can to some extent consciously modify their dreams before becoming fully awake - but I have no space here to do more than to refer to it. [1]) Upon waking, a potential text is available in the thoughts in which one recalls the dream. For the sake of simplicity (and by analogy with the preconscious), this might be seen as a pre-text, although it will inevitably be subjected to editing in the process of becoming iterable text. The dream becomes text in the world of consciousness when an account is given of it, whether oral (as dreamers to themselves or to interlocutors) or recorded by some means (such as writing). So far, then we have essentially two dream-texts: the dream as thought and as an account. When the dream is offered for analysis (to oneself or by a psychoanalyst) it is then transformed by this process into what it 'really means' - and clearly there can be a potentially infinite number of evolving versions of this 'analysed-text'. For the present purpose I shall treat this as one text.

So in summary we have three dream-texts. The first is the manifest dream, which in this account is unrecoverable as such: it remains merely a potential-for-text, a pre-text - in German we could call it an 'Urtext'. The second is what we would normally think of the dreamtext: the dream as written down on waking, or told to someone over breakfast, or recounted in analysis. The third is the dream revealed in its 'real meaning': the dream-as-analysed. These three texts seem to correspond conveniently with Freud's three descriptive levels of mind: the id, as the agency which produces the energy for the fulfilment of a wish - which Freud thought the dream to be; the ego, which gives the normalised and conscious account of events (of the dream, in this case); and the superego, which regulates and censors. However, with regard to this last agency, we shall find that it is the unconscious portion of the superego which is the greater and more important part, and it will already have done most of its work by the time the dream reaches its formulation as dreamtext.

It is, however, necessary to make these distinctions in order to be able to draw attention to some of the aspects of Freud's procedure which are quite obvious and therefore taken for granted, but which may distort the nature of the analysis, and therefore distort also the claims which are able to be made for the validity of the interpretation, or at least claims about what it is that is being interpreted.

Freudian texts exist in three locations (in terms of the metapsychological topology of the later Freud, from 1923): the id, ego, and superego. They therefore offer themselves to (or conceal themselves from) analysis in different ways, in three different modes of textuality. The ego-text is heard/read/received continuously, but the id-text is latent, and must be drawn out by the Freudian maieutic. Supertext may be available to the ego as cultural text - but its operation is largely unconscious.

In terms of the dynamic view of the psyche these three texts are in competition to be heard. The ego-text normally holds the floor, but is occasionally interrupted by outbursts from below or above as desire and restraint alternate in their appeals to the organism. In terms of the economic model, the ego-text is the controller, which tries to get maximum meaningfulness from the total utterance, like an umpire arbitrating between the demands of the pleasure and the reality principles, allowing the other texts to be spoken only when necessary.

Freud prefers not to read the surface of the ego-text which is the host for all three: he wants to look below this surface, or at least into its folds. Michel Foucault, in an interesting and useful variation on the idea of 'depth'-psychology, suggests that the sign in Freud can be called 'depth' only provided that this is taken to mean exteriority rather than interiority. He suggests that in Freud, as in Nietzsche, 'depth was only a game and a wrinkle [or fold: pli] on the surface.' [2] This image of the irruption of the id-text appearing as a fold in the surface of the ego-text, like a fold in the earth's crust during its formation, along which a crack or fissure will form - although not an image used by Freud himself - is an appropriate one to convey the idea of another kind of speech, another language, breaking through, interrupting the tranquil flow of the production of ego-text, causing the formation of a surface of a different, more frictive kind.

These unusual, rough surfaces, these folded phenomena, are what are called 'symptoms', and is these phenomena which Freud intends to interpret. They are, however, already interpretations, according to Foucault, already textuality. Located in the 'speaking body' (which anticipates something I shall have to say about Bateson below), they are textual productions, 'phantasms' which speak of 'their burden of anguish.' [3] Id-text might have been seen as a palimpsest appearing through the smooth and transparent surface of the ego-text, were it not for the violence with which these messages irrupt.

Symptoms are by definition aberrant texts, and the processes which construct the symptom-texts are, according to Freud, identical to the processes which construct dream-texts, joke-texts, and so on. So with these texts, as with any other kind of text, we should see and be able to trace all of the Freudian processes at work. Often, they are visible in the 'speaking body:' symptoms are inscribed on bodies, in 'neurotic' behaviour, for example. Although there seems always to be something about joke-texts, dream-texts and parapraxes which makes them seem inherently trivial, merely surface phenomena, illustrative instances - symptoms - are different in that, in the cases of the floridly neurotic people whom Freud describes, they disable the lives of the persons who suffer them.

Take the case of the obsessive-compulsive and agoraphobic girl described in Lecture 17, 'The Sense of Symptoms,' in the Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis of 1916-17. [4] The girl in the case could not go to sleep without first spending a couple of hours arranging everything in her room, especially the pillows and other bedding, removing all vases and pot-plants, and placing something in the doorway between her bedroom and that of her parents, so that the door could not be shut. The symptom-text with which she presents is a set of behaviours, a sleep-ritual which is supposed to be designed to induce sleep, but which actually takes up much time which should be spent sleeping, so that there is a contradiction, an irruption of id-text ('I don't want to go to bed to sleep' - and perhaps: 'I don't/want to sleep with Father') through the surface of the ego-text ('I want to go to bed to sleep'). It is the girl's body which is speaking (through its aberrant behaviour) in contradiction of the apparent intention of her acts.

In Freud's account of the case, the girl's pillow is (for her) a representation of the female as the bedstead displaces the male, and the clocks and watches are condensations of both time and of the female genitals. However, these processes of representation are not immediately apparent to the girl, who 'gradually came to learn that it was as symbols of the female genitals that clocks were banished from her equipment for the night.' [5] Whether her conscious mind allowed these thoughts to come up from her unconscious, or whether she finally allowed herself to be persuaded by her determined analyst, we are told that she accepts Freud's interpretation of her story, but only after some time.

She found out the central meaning of her ceremonial one day when she suddenly understood the meaning of the rule that the pillow must not touch the back of the bedstead. The pillow, she said, had always been a woman to her and the upright wooden back a man. Thus she wanted - by magic, we must interpolate - to keep the man and woman apart - that is, to separate her parents from each other, not to allow them to have sexual intercourse. [6]

It is these interpolations of Freud's that are most interesting. Why 'must' he interpolate that it was by magic that she wanted to keep her parents apart: where does this desire to interpolate come from? Why these authorial intrusions into the story? Where do the 'phantasies' come from in the last sentence of the following quotation?

Finally, when she was so big that it became physically uncomfortable for her to find room in the bed between her parents, she managed, by a conscious simulation of anxiety, to arrange for the mother to exchange places with her for the night and to leave her own place so that the patient could sleep beside her father. This situation no doubt became the starting-point of phantasies whose after-effect was to be seen in the ceremonial. [7]

If you read the last sentence without the 'phantasies' it still makes sense: 'This situation no doubt became the starting-point of ... [the] after-effect[s] ... to be seen in the ceremonial.' This rephrasing of the sentence is based on the assumption that the situation itself would be enough to create anxiety which of itself would be capable of causing the symptom of the ceremonial - without the need to take a detour through phantasies. Why therefore is the anxiety said to be 'simulated': anxiety associated with a desire to sleep with - or not to sleep with - her father? Surely this is in itself an anxiety-provoking quandary for this nineteen-year-old young woman to be in. The question arises: Who is doing the simulation, and whose is the phantasy? Perhaps there is more dissimulation being exercised by the other family members than by the Identified Patient, and also more imagination being utilised by the therapist than by her.

It is important to point out, in this connexion, that in the case of the female patients seen by Freud the treatment would have been paid for by their husbands or their fathers: the men would have been the ones who brought the women to Freud for normalisation. (Freud tells 'Dora': '... after all, it is only your father who makes you come.' [8]) In this way psychoanalysis may have a pathological complicity with the process of social construction. As in the case of Dora's father, the father of the un-named girl in the present case would have expected complicity from Freud in their joint and several aims: not only to eliminate the symptomatic acts in the girl's neurotic behaviour, but also to reduce the emphasis on sexuality in the triangular relationship between the parents and her. Given the theoretical basis of Freud's psychoanalysis, of course, he only increases the stress on sex. His real complicity - and this is for him unspeakable and therefore in that sense 'in' his unconscious - is with the power structure that in this case results in the victim being the one who is blamed. Rather than refer to the parents' - and particularly the father's - responsibility in establishing and maintaining a regime that would have protected the young woman from experiences which were bound to create anxiety, Freud prefers to comment on and 'treat' the symptoms of the Identified Patient: the one who in the social structure has least power and who is therefore potentially the easiest individual in whom to induce the required behavioural change. Rather than examine the family structure in this case as a set of power relations and competing needs, embedded as he is in the culture of the period, in its mind-culture system, Freud must, by virtue of his methodology, examine only the single sub-system of the girl, and its unilateral relationship with the other parts of the system. This he does in the service of research, but arguably not in the service of the patient.

Nevertheless, Freud is doubtless correct in seeing the 'symptoms' as being the expression of anxiety (whether simulated or not) and therefore as a text, produced by what he is later to call the id, and therefore needing to be interpreted or translated. Id-text is and is not meant to be heard: when it breaks through the surface of the ego-text it results in its own disappearance - as Freud writes: 'I learnt from an important communication by Josef Breuer that as regards these structures (which are looked on as pathological symptoms) unravelling them coincides with removing them.' [9] The word he uses that is translated as 'unravelling', 'Auflösing', is the word used in German to convey the sense of the 'unknotting' that Aristotle saw as the conclusion of the plot of Œdipus Tyrannos - for which 'in English' we often use the French word dénouement. [10] Œdipus conveys his understanding of his situation by his actions - his self-blinding - although in the play he has no more to say.

An originary text of the greatest importance for Freud is that of his famous dream of 24 July 1895, the 'specimen dream' of The Interpretation of Dreams, which Freud wrote down at Bellevue, on which house he suggested to Fliess there should be a marble tablet placed, inscribed with the words: 'In This House, on July 24th 1895 the Secret of Dreams was Revealed to Dr. Sigm. Freud.' [11] The dream concerns the examination of a patient and acquaintance, 'Irma', by Freud and three other doctors who are also friends. The dreamer concludes in the dream that her infection was caused by an injection given her by 'Otto', probably with a dirty syringe.

The id-text is the latent meaning of the dream, which Freud interprets as to do with 'concern about my own and other people's health - professional conscientiousness'. [12] The ego-text is the manifest content: what Freud wrote down in the morning, together with the interpretive material he publishes in The Interpretation of Dreams, but also including material which he has excluded - material of two kinds: more of the dream and more of the interpretation. The operations of the superego are present in the exclusion, and explicitly in the meta-explanations of the suppression of certain material - again of two kinds: material which is either too personal, or to do with 'professional conscientiousness' - presumably professional discretion - which is what the dream is said to be about.

The work done by the superego is sekundäre Bearbeitung, which is conventionally translated as 'secondary revision.'Bearbeitung has as its root 'Arbeit' = 'work', and 'bearbeiten' (in its first dictionary meaning) denotes working on something such as stone or wood, or with a hammer or chemicals, to change the shape or nature of something. The third meaning given in a standard dictionary is the one Freud probably has mostly in mind: the one concerned with editing, revising, adapting, arranging. [13] It is worth pointing out that the English word connotes 'seeing again' or 'seeing in a different light,' whereas the German is definitely concerned with work. Considering 'revision' in the editorial sense, supertext in this typical case could be seen as the editor's changes made to the manuscript and the proofs: very tangible and specific use of language, but not included in the final (ego-)publication.

Freud himself has done some editing of this kind, as he tells us. And we can do the kind of the detective work (or psycho-analysis) the result of which will be to show what kinds of sekundäre Bearbeitung Freud has himself done. I will examine one moment in the account where it seems clear that Freud has carried out some of this editing, one indicated in fact by Freud himself, as at this point Freud clearly indicates that he has refused to give further public consideration to material which his censor has not allowed it to pass.

He describes the examination of the patient 'Irma' in the dream in these terms: ' friend Leopold was percussing her through her bodice and saying: "She has a dull area low down on the left." He also indicated that a portion of the skin on the left shoulder was infiltrated. (I noticed this, just as he did, in spite of her dress.)...' [14] This indication of elision at the end of the quotation is in the original, showing that Freud himself has indicated that material has been suppressed.

In the interpretation, Freud's procedure is very much that of the textual analyst: he takes each key phrase, reproduces it in the text in italics, and proceeds to give a commentary on it, an explication. It is noticeable, however, that Freud does not transcribe himself accurately. Taking '... my friend Leopold was percussing her through her bodice' ['Über dem Leibchen'] Freud changes this to '... my friend Leopold was examining her.' The bodice has been suppressed, together with its preposition, the action performed on the woman, and the ability of the doctors to 'see through' things - although the point of the whole exercise is to demonstrate Freud's ability to 'see through' things. It is fascinating to note that the language itself restores the link between the clothing and the body beneath that Freud is resisting. The English word 'bodice' and the German 'Leibchen' which it translates are both performing the same metonymical operation: 'bodice' comes from 'bodies' and 'Leib' means body, the '-chen' being a diminutive (a 'Leibarzt' - literally 'body doctor' - is one's 'personal physician'). Uncovering the metaphor that usage has buried: Otto is percussing 'over her little body'. The latent meaning, I suggest, would be more available to the German speaker/reader, as the word in question has not been modified, whereas 'bodice' has.

When he comes to 'I noticed this, just as he did...' ['was ich trotz des Kleides wie er spüre'], Freud makes no comment on the fact that they could see a lesion on the woman's skin despite the fact that it was covered by her clothing, nor on the fact that he was aware of the other man's also being able to see through the cloth - or, more literally, 'in spite of' the cloth, which has failed to prevent the secret being given away. (Spüren comes from the noun meaning 'spoor', 'trace', 'sign', and means to 'feel' in the sense of 'intuit', but can also indicate detective work: to be on the track or to follow the scent). What he explicitly refers to instead is some unusually technical medical jargon: 'We are in the habit of speaking of "a left upper posterior infiltration,"' suggesting that he wasn't even talking about skin at all, or shoulders, or seeing things, but instead about lungs and tuberculosis.

It is interesting to compare this moment with a slip of the tongue, a 'sexual double entendre,' discussed in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, where 'durch die Bluse' [through the blouse] is produced by the speaker in error for 'durch die Blume' [literally, 'through flowers,' i.e. 'indirectly']. [15] What we have here is the contrary situation.

When Freud comes to In spite of her dress, he writes:

This was in any case only an interpolation. We naturally used to examine the children in the hospital undressed, and this would be a contrast to the manner in which adult female patients have to be examined. I remembered that it was said of a celebrated clinician that he never made a physical examination of his patients except through their clothes. Further than this I could not see. Frankly, I had no desire to penetrate more deeply at this point. [16]

Freud has just told us a moment before that he can perceive through the woman's dress, and now he quite explicitly denies this ('Further than this I could not see.'['Das Weitere ist mir dunkel ...,' more literally: 'Anything further is for me in the dark.']) There are other contradictions: this whole paragraph is full of the language of sexual desire, beginning with the wonderfully 'Freudian' locution: 'This was in any case only an interpolation' [Einschaltung] - one of many words here whose first element is 'in' [in German either 'Ein' or 'In']. (The discussion of the interpolation in the previous analysis from 'The sense of symptoms' will be recalled.) The adverbials 'in any case' and 'only' both attempt to indicate that an 'interpolation' is not important and should be disregarded: although Freud consistently reminds us that in psychoanalysis nothing is irrelevant. And why does he bring children into it 'naturally'? Because it is 'natural' to be undressed? The elaboration ('I remembered...') continues the meditation on being not/naked. But then the censor brings down the curtain: 'Further than this I could not see.' A clear self-contradiction, followed an outrageous lie: 'Frankly, I had no desire to penetrate more deeply at this point.' ['... ich habe, offen gesagt, keine Neigung, mich hier tiefer einzulassen.' [17]] Freud is not being 'open' at all: he unconsciously wants what he denies - having an 'inclination' [Neigung] (downwards) to 'let himself go in more deeply.' Consider the situation that his imagination has conjured up in the dream: three male friends and colleagues examining a person who is in a subject position in several senses: she is probably physically below their level, either sitting or perhaps even prostrate; she is physically weak (pains in her throat, stomach and abdomen); psychically weak ('hysterical'); morally weak (recalcitrant); and, finally, as a 'patient', and as a woman, socially and ideologically inferior. 'Irma' is at the mercy of these men - which is why the superego has to apply so much restraint to the account.

After the elision that he himself indicates, Freud has one of the colleagues ('M') saying: 'There's no doubt it's an infection, but no matter; dysentery will supervene and the toxin will be eliminated.' 'Infection' [Infektion] is another one of those words with 'in' as its first element, connoting an entrance into, this time of micro-organisms entering into the patient. But on this occasion there will be 'no matter', as an agency (and the superego is often spoken of in these terms) will supervene, and the toxin [Gift] (thoughts of insemination, perhaps, in the id-text) will be 'eliminated', that is, repressed. Freud does not consider the sexual meaning of 'infection', but once again waxes technical, writing - in what we might call 'tertiary revision' - of 'diphtheritis' and 'metastases'. 'It made me think rather,' he writes 'of pyaemia.' What is the 'it' that makes him think of pyaemia - rather than of the relationships of the four men and the woman: is it not the operation of his superego? The sexual sub-text continues to operate when it is said (in the dream record) that 'origin of the infection' was 'an injection' [Injektion] - yet another 'in' word - given by 'my friend Otto.'

As in the case of the obsessive-compulsive and agoraphobic girl, and in that of Dora, we find once again that Freud is dealing with a female person positioned as patient and as subject. Although he makes what biographers such as Schur and Jones call 'heroic' attempts at complete honesty regarding all aspects of his procedure, it is clear that there are some aspects of the situation about which he is unable to say everything because he is simply unable to speak about them at all: they are so deeply unconscious that they are unspeakable - and he cannot say anything (whether he could think it or not). My remarks about the obsessive-compulsive girl apply here again - even though the woman in this case is a dream figure - as the analysis is carried out according to the same criteria.

Superficially, I am referring mainly to the positioning of women in the society of Freud's life and times: we know that in his thinking on this matter he took the conventional line that women were inferior to men and had therefore to be treated differently from them. Beyond this, though, is the implication that Freud - as are most people - was the creature of his times and their ideological systems, and his thinking was unconsciously determined by the culture in which it imbued. This is bad enough in itself (if largely inevitable), from a political point of view, but it also had an effect on his practice and therefore also on the development of his theory. This limitation curtailed the application of psychoanalytical theory: it meant it could not go far enough. It may also have contributed (due to the political implications) to the decline in the perceived importance of Freud's contribution to cultural theory as opinion on such matters developed. This is beside the main point of the present argument, however, which is that if there had been some way that Freud could personally have transcended the limitations that constrained him (and of which he was better placed than most to be aware) he could have continued along the lines of psychoanalytic theory further into the field of cultural study than he otherwise could, in the service of a truly critical theory of the cultural unconscious. As it has turned out, critical theory of various kinds, including Critical Theory, has tended to move away from psychoanalysis, as has Cultural Studies per se, which has taken a much more empiricist and even behaviourist direction in general, under pressure from various normalising cultural agencies, including especially those that fund research in these areas.

The specimen dream has of course attracted the attention of analysts other than Freud, notably Max Schur, who was also one of Freud's biographers, his personal physician, and a trained psychoanalyst as well. [18] As a result of personal knowledge and after some research in Freud's letters, Schur is able to identify the key characters in the dream: 'Otto' is Oskar Rie, an old friend of Freud's, his children's doctor, and future brother-in-law of Wilhelm Fliess. 'M' is none other than Breuer, the 'someone else with greater knowledge (... my friend who had told me of trimethylamin)' is Fliess, and the patient Irma, according to Schur, was actually Emma Eckstein. 'Eckstein' means 'cornerstone', and the analysis of the relationship between her, Fliess and Freud was something of a cornerstone of the foundations of psychoanalysis, coming as it did as such a crucial time in the development of Freud's thought, in the same years when he was carrying out his self-analysis, and engaged in the crucial correspondence with Fliess. Schur recounts in some detail - through the use of quotations from the correspondence which was first published as 'The Origins of Psychoanalysis' [19] - the sorry tale of Fliess's bungled operation on Eckstein (who was herself also one of the first practitioners of the new science of psychoanalysis). The story has also more recently been retold by Jeffrey Masson, who sees the events as so seriously discrediting Freudian analysis as to imply the bankruptcy of the whole psychoanalytic enterprise. [20]

Masson cites important sources, including Anna Freud herself, to support the opinion that the woman in the dream was not Emma Eckstein, but a certain Anna Hammerschlag. [21] Against this I would bring the obvious argument of condensation, due to which one figure can of course represent more than one person from the day's residues. In writing about condensation in the Introductory Lectures, Freud has this to say:

Its results are particularly easy to demonstrate. You will have no difficulty in recalling instances from your own dreams of different people being condensed into a single one. A composite figure of this kind may look like A perhaps, but may be dressed like B, may do something that we remember C doing, and at the same time we may know that he is D. This composite structure is of course emphasizing something that the four people have in common. [22]

'Irma' can therefore both be Anna Hammerschlag and at the same time Emma Eckstein, and for that matter also any other woman patient in relation to whom Freud had feelings of guilt at the time.

The case for Eckstein is strengthened by placing the particular day of the dream in the context of other events of the recent past: the operation itself of course, and the many letters Freud wrote to Fliess between the operation and the dream. Fliess visited Freud in Vienna in Xmas 1894, met Emma, and suggested the operation, which he performed in early February 1895. Between the time of the operation and July 1895, when he recorded the 'specimen dream,' Freud wrote ten letters to Fliess in which he mentioned Emma, often at great length. In the first of these, written on 4 March, Emma is quite unwell and has already had a 'massive haemorrhage.' [23] The second of the letters, of 8 March 1895, is the one in which Freud tells the horrific story of the discovery of 'at least half a metre' of surgical gauze which Fliess had inadvertently left in Emma's nose at the conclusion of the operation. When it was removed the patient nearly died.

There are four more letters in the same month, in which Eckstein's condition fluctuates. In the letter of 28 March her reactions to the operation are regarded as 'hysterias from this past period.' The letter of 11 April 1895 record more haemorrhages, at least one of which was 'life-threatening'. And this letter comes closest to actually accusing Fliess of carelessness. As Masson translates it, Freud writes 'I am really very shaken [to think] that such a mishap [Malheur] could have arisen from the operation which was purported to be harmless.' Fliess's response appears to have called forth an apology from Freud, as his next letter, of 20 April 1895, describes Fliess as 'the type of man into whose hands one confidently puts one's life and that of one's family ...' Further to this reversal, the victim begins to be the one who is to blame in the matter. By the time of the letter of 26 April 1895, Emma is referred as 'my tormentor and yours.' And on 27 April 1895, Freud writes: 'Eckstein once again is in pain; will she be bleeding next?' The last reference that year to Emma Eckstein was on 25 May 1895: she is 'doing very well.'

It is not difficult to imagine that the events, reactions, and reflections of the five months preceding Freud's decision to record as a specimen a dream in which he deals with 'professional conscientiousness' - which includes the possibility of 'professional guilt' - were powerful residues which in fact needed to be dealt with by the dreamwork as recounted in the Bellevue dream. Schur's summing-up of the case for the identification of Emma Eckstein is very persuasive.

The link between the Emma episode and the Irma dream is self-evident ... Here was a patient being treated by Freud for hysteria who did have an organic, largely 'iatrogenic' illness; who had narrowly escaped death because a physician really had committed an error; whose pathology was located in the nasal cavity; whose case had confronted Freud with a number of emergencies requiring him urgently to call in several consultants, all of whom had been helpless and confused; Emma's lesion had a foetid odor (propylamyl); Freud had had to look repeatedly into her nose and mouth. [24]

It has been necessary to make the case for Eckstein, with Roazen, Clark and Schur - as against her dismissal by Anzieu, KrÜll, Anna Freud and Masson in favour of Anna Hammerschlag - because of the importance of the relationship between Freud, Fliess and Emma Eckstein at this crucial moment in the development of the theory of psychoanalysis. The profound importance of Freud's relationship with Fliess at this moment was one of the crucial factors in his being constrained to construct the fantasy theory of 'hysterical' symptoms. Freud's graphic account of the various operations carried out in relation to Emma Eckstein's numerous haemorrhages can leave little doubt in the mind of the reader of Freud's letters that the cause of the problem was only too physical and organic. But by the end of the two months during which Freud wrestled with the problem of maintaining his essentially close relationship with his partner in the face of his appalling surgical error, Freud has decided that the fault actually lay with the victim, in the form of her 'hysterical longing' for Freud himself. In the letter of 26 April 1895 he writes: 'I shall be able to prove to you that you were right, that her episodes of bleeding were hysterical, were occasioned by longing ...' And on 4 May 1895, after an account of Emma's background as one who 'has always been a bleeder', Freud reveals that:

... she became restless during the night because of an unconscious wish to entice me to go there, and since I did not come during the night, she renewed the bleedings, as an unfailing means of rearousing my affection.

One of the most important elements in this construction is the bond between Freud and Fliess. Although it had its homosexual elements, and was therefore itself caught up in an unconscious drive, [25] it was also Freud's most important professional relationship, in that it was only with Fliess (or so it seems, to a great extent) that Freud was prepared to share his ideas about his developing theory, which was going to be the key to his fame and fortune. He could not risk giving up, nor even changing, the dynamics of this relationship, which represented Freud's contact with the professional world whose acknowledgment he desperately needed. In 1896, the relationship with Fliess was for Freud the single most important element of the mind-culture system which participated in this way in the formation of the theory of psychoanalysis.

The 1966 account given by Schur of the events surrounding the operation on Eckstein and their transformation in the dream, its retelling (and censoring) and analysis mainly turns on a very useful discussion of the nature of transference, and the importance in this regard of a third aspect of the relationship between Freud and Fliess, who was placed in the role of analyst to Freud's analysand. I would not wish to take anything away from Schur's view of the matter, but would only add, as I have already done above, a suggestion about an additional transference that was taking place between Freud and the society on which he depended, which is also the main line taken by Masson - although without the theoretical basis that I have laid down.

In this section I have shown, following Freud, that there are levels of meaning above and below those that we ordinarily believe we perceive with the conscious, rational aspects of our mental apparatus, and I have gone on to demonstrate that there are levels 'above' and perhaps even 'below' Freud's own ability to see and to speak of. I shall now proceed to further examine the relationship between this model of textuality and the cultural determinants which I suggest are the ultimate source of those constraints which define the limits of our language and behaviour.

Culture and textuality

Raising the question of the relationship between textuality and culture is also a way of dealing with the related question of the transmission and maintenance of culture. The model that I use in this project, which is derived from classical psychoanalysis, is based in the hypothesis of a homology between the development of the individual and that of culture. Specifically, in this section, I shall be modelling the relationship between the individual superego, as described by Freud, and a proposed 'cultural superego.' I shall suggest that in the same way that the individual superego 'observes, directs and threatens' [26] the individual ego, so does the culture observe, direct and threaten its 'ego', which is to say its members, the individuals whose collective consciousness comprises the culture. This oversight and direction of individual members of society is, I suggest, carried out in ways of which they are largely unconscious, but which can nevertheless be recovered as textuality and examined as such. Needing to refer to these texts, I have coined the term 'supertext' by analogy with Freud's (or his translator's) 'superego'.

I begin by considering Freud's construction of the notion of 'culture' - or 'civilization', as 'Kultur' is usually translated in the Standard Edition. According to Freud, its characteristics include: technological advances, means of controlling and exploiting nature, a capacity for the appreciation of beauty, cleanliness and order, intellectual, scientific and artistic achievements, and laws for the regulation of human relationships. [27] For Freud (and perhaps most people would agree), it is what distinguishes us from our evolutionary forebears, and what allows us to control both nature and ourselves, making it possible for us to continue to live together. [28] The rules that set out the conduct of all these affairs are determined by the superego and can be interpreted as supertexts. Freud writes:

... the word 'civilization' [29] ['Kultur'] describes the whole sum of the achievements and the regulations which distinguish our lives from those of our animal ancestors and which serve two purposes - namely to protect men against nature and to adjust their mutual relations. [30]

So culture, for Freud, is a system of regulation. It develops as a response to the need to keep under control those desires which would otherwise make it impossible for us to live together in any kind of harmony - or in at least the harmony in which we do live. But particular cultures are like particular individual human beings: they can go crazy. The systems that comprise our minds (and our cultures) are inherently unstable (as we shall see again in another theoretical framework with Gregory Bateson in Chapter 5): chance factors can cause breakdowns within and between these systems, creating neurotic individuals and cultures.

Culture is also a production. It is a complex ideational artefact for the regulation of human systems, which may exist in purely notional form, or which may be produced in tangible forms (which in this context will be treated as texts). And as a production, it may be seen as having a producer, which may therefore be subjected to analysis. Inasmuch as this producer is strongly analogous to mind (if not identical with it) it may be analysed in a way similar to that in which individual humans are analysed.

Freud develops the argument that there are three factors playing a part in the 'process' of civilization: character-formation, sublimation, and the 'renunciation of instinct.' [31] (A particular type of 'character-formation', for example, is that associated with 'anal erotism,' where the subject is simultaneously 'orderly, parsimonious and obstinate.' The description of the 'anal-erotic' character caused a furore when first published in 1908 in 'Character and anal erotism,' [32] although 'anality' has since become a commonplace of the stock in trade of the Freudian contribution to individual and cultural analysis.)

The argument suggests both the individual and society as a whole experience the passage of these three factors, so that:

When ... we look at the relation between the process of human civilization and the developmental or educative process of individual human beings, we shall conclude without much hesitation that the two are very similar in nature, if not the very same process applied to different kinds of object. [33]

The development of culture - the writing of the cultural text - seems to be able to encompass both a Lamarckian as well as a Darwinian notion of evolution in its composition. The individual subject not only receives a genetic inheritance of cultural reproduction in the unconscious, but also an adaptation to a particular cultural community in the superego, so that he or she is continuously prepared for a role as a member of that community. To put it another way, there is a reciprocity between individual and community such that the community has many of the same aspects of its psyche as does the individual. A community possesses, like each of the individuals that comprise it: a consciousness of itself, a sense of its existence - an ego; a collective unconscious - an id; and a projection from that unconscious with functions including that of conscience - a superego. [34] From this perspective, then, it is much easier to see how the cultural artefacts mentioned above, such as technological advances, means of controlling and exploiting nature, and so on, are produced by the community as a whole in the process of its mental evolution.

Some cultural productions (and some cultures) may be seen as 'healthy': particularly, perhaps, those products which we sometimes think of as Culture with a capital C: art-forms which someone like Kenneth Clark (in his television series Civilization, for example) will see as only possible when there has been a long period of political and economic stability: the works of the Italian Renaissance being the conventional example. But even this kind of Culture may be seen by the Freudian analyst as neurotic. Culture may in that light be seen as the creation of a neurotic artist (in Freud's principal study, like that exemplary artist of the Italian Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci). The creation of culture - its 'authorship' - must therefore be analysed: if, as Freud, suggests, cultures are or can become neurotic, then it is important to understand in what way the different aspects of the mind are in conflict with each other. It is necessary to understand what kinds of drives are repressed by what superego censorship and how the cultural ego copes with its central role in controlling or not being able to control these processes. Culture presents itself as texts of various kinds, as has been asserted above, so its creator(s) can be approached through its/their productions, in a way rather similar to that in which literary critics and linguistics have approached the analysis of texts, and of their authors.

There are of course enormous problems in dealing with the notion of 'authorship': 'the author' was done to death by Barthes and Foucault, prominent among others. [35] However, these were arguments the strategy of which was to foreground other aspects of textuality: and, in particular, 'text' itself; and it is still possible to speak of authorship without talking complete nonsense. For the present purpose, the term will provide a starting-point, in indicating the direction from which texts tend to come: a hypothetical agency of text-production. Using a broad sense of both terms, in the present context, 'author' will sometimes coincide with 'patient', sometimes with 'mind'.

We have already seen that a text-for-psychoanalysis - whether a dream or a symptom-text - proceeds from a mind. In the cases we have looked at so far, Freud's specimen dream and the obsessive girl's behaviour, the author of these texts was the mind of a single individual. Long before the sociological works, at least as early as The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud is already interested in the products of mind generally, showing this in his ability to discuss 'typical dreams,' and indeed in the typicality of dreamwork generally. Culture is a creation of the human mind. Ontogeny repeats phylogeny: each new dreamer continues the dreaming of the human race, re-imagining again the whole human drama of longing and denial. Washed around between the Scylla of the pleasure principle and the Charybdis of the reality principle, each developing individual learns and re-learns the necessity of sacrifice in the face of overwhelming desire. [36] The family drama is played out repeatedly: the Œdipus play is presented every night, for an endless season, because it is only in this psycho-dramatic way that each individual can begin to learn the nature of the part. (Freud writes in a letter: 'Each member of the audience was once, in germ and in phantasy, just such an Œdipus, and each one recoils in horror from the dream-fulfilment here [in Hamlet] transplanted into reality ...'37) What begins in the individual as what seems to each subject to be a private struggle turns out to be the fate that awaits every single protagonist in the human tragedy. We only begin to develop through (largely imagined) conflict; later, however, we install an instructor - the superego - to teach and re-teach and refine the cultural lessons.

Culture would appear to be written by this superego, in the form of supertext. And indeed it is this agency which is the ostensible origin of the actual prescriptions and commands which are the guides for the conduct of human affairs. However, the superego is in its turn created by the ego. In a dialectical process and over a period some years, the ego represents the external world to its internal world of id, discovering to it the need to curb certain of its desires at certain times (the specific nexus of this development for Freud is precisely the period of development of the Œdipus complex and its repression - though I think it is possible to retain the notion of the process without the specificity of the temporal location).38 The agency that the ego creates to carry on this process of (secondary) repression is the superego. And this is a collective, as well as an individual process, in that the id is passed on genetically with an accumulation of all the countless egos that have gone into the creation of this collective unconscious: '... when the ego forms its super-ego out of the id, it may perhaps only be reviving shapes of former egos and be bringing them to resurrection.'39

Each of the characteristics of culture mentioned above - although each one seems like an emanation from a serene and peaceful society - may also be seen as products of a struggle. Technological advances and means of controlling and exploiting nature are clearly a result of the struggle between (one's inherited) nature and culture (an idea which will be further developed when discussing Lévi-Strauss in Chapter 4), or, in more Freudian terms, the struggle between unconscious desires and mental censors. A capacity for cleanliness and order, for example, is a product of the character we develop in overcoming certain of our baser instincts. In this case of orderliness: 'the permanent character-traits are unchanged prolongations of the original instinct' (when the individual turns out to be at the same time 'orderly, parsimonious and obstinate' as a prolongation of 'anal erotism'). Or they may be 'sublimations of those instincts,' as in the case of a capacity for the appreciation of beauty, and intellectual, scientific and artistic achievements. Or they may be 'reaction-formations against them,' as in the case of laws for the regulation of human relationships.40

The most conspicuous of the three factors playing a part in the process of civilization is, perhaps, sublimation, which 'makes it possible for higher psychical activities, scientific, artistic or ideological, to play such an important part in civilized life.'41 Sublimation enables the production of 'the highest cultural, artistic and social creations of the human spirit,'42 by the redirection of the energy of those drives which would had led to immediate satisfaction (the typical example being the sexual drive) into more highly valorised activities.

Despite my construction of an analogy between the author of a text, conventionally understood, and the author of culture, there is an important difference between the two, which is to do with the degree of intentionality involved in the former, or, to put it more appropriately for this context, with the degree of self-consciousness or control by the ego. It is difficult to imagine any individual or agency having a real self-awareness of being a creator of culture. Although many actions, linguistic and material, are intentionally carried out with the aim of contributing to the formation of a particular culture, few would be done with a sense of authorship or original creation. And yet, civilizations come into existence, continue for a time, and then decline and fall. Obviously, the agencies which create them, although human, are almost entirely unconscious. It is therefore appropriate to study them in the same way (and with the same theoretical apparatus) as that in which we theorise the nature and productivity of the unconscious of an individual human being. One would therefore expect to use the same methodology as psychoanalysis, attending to non-intentional formations like parapraxes, and to non-logical constructions like condensation and displacement, and to collective cultural productions like jokes, myths, legends, folk-tales, and others analogous to dreams. One would also to expect to find the same negotiations between the different aspects of the mind: the id, the ego and the superego, as they contend to maintain an appropriate balance of power. An 'author of culture' then - neurotic or not - may be analysed in the same way as any other 'client': through the analysis of its parapraxes, its associations, its dreams, and its fantasies - all of which are texts.

The mind-culture system

Having established the basis of culture in a psychoanalytic context, and the means by which it comes into existence, I move on now to an examination of the system which maintains the relationship between the two entities, mind and culture. As the description of a system implies the existence of an analyst, I shall make use of this figure and of the concept of transference, as this will throw some light on the connexion between the two parts of the system which contains mind and culture.

A proposal to analyse the development of culture inevitably raises the question of the nature of the analyst, and its (or his or her) function in the process of analysis. The analyst is the (person or) agency which sets up an environment conducive to therapeutic work, the most important aspect of which for Freud (and Freudians) is the work of analysis. Indeed, Freud, to some degree unlike the other thinkers examined in this book, emphasised analysis somewhat to the detriment of synthesis. 'I so rarely feel the need for synthesis,' he writes in one of his letters. 'I am of course an analyst, and believe that synthesis offers no obstacles once analysis has been achieved.'43 Freud is also said to have 'remarked (March 2, 1910, according to the Minutes of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society) that he "personally never made an effort to construct a complete system: He was instead focused on the gaps" ...'44 (It does not follow that Freud had no system(s): all that he is saying that he has no difficulty with the construction of systems; and that he is more concerned with analysis than with synthesis.)

I suggest in this section that the analyst of the culture-text and its author may be dealt with as analogical to the psychoanalyst who makes suggestions to the patient about what might be causing his neurosis: a conflict between desire and a censor which has caused repression to be brought to bear. Through the process of transference the patient is able to bring to consciousness - to remember - the trauma which caused his libido to be attached to the symptom rather than to be available to his ego. And through this bringing to consciousness a cure is effected. In the case of culture, culture-texts reveal that there is an analogous conflict in the culture as a whole between collective desire and repression which systematically causes something like a neurosis. This neurosis will tend to be resolved if a process of transference is set in train by cultural analysts (like Freud, Bateson and Lévi-Strauss), a process which will similarly bring to consciousness those traumas which have caused inappropriate libidinal attachment. The aim is not a 'cure' as such, but a redirection of cultural drives and desires towards more positive goals, in the form of the insertion of a degenerative (that is, meliorative) element into the cultural system which regulates individual thought and therefore also behaviour.

An example of this kind of analysis was to be have been provided by Freud in his analysis of totems and taboos. The hope there was that the recognition of the accuracy of the analysis would result in a general decrease of guilt regarding the originary crimes, and a coming to terms with our collective œdipality, resulting in a less obsessive sets of behaviours such as dangerous and oppressive ideologies.

The role of the analyst is to overcome resistances; this is the essential function of analytic treatment: the culture-text has to accomplish it and the analyst makes this possible with the help of suggestion operating, as Freud says, 'in an educative sense.' 'For that reason', he continues, 'psychoanalytic treatment has justly been described as a kind of after-education.'45 Taking this on board results in a return to a moral view of the function of cultural analysis, a view which went underground some decades ago, but which has never been completely moribund. The authority of the analyst is bound up with the need for a positive perception of the analyst. If the transference bears a 'plus' sign, that is, if there is acceptance of the need for cultural analysis, it endows the analyst with authority and it is transformed into a belief in what he communicates and explains.46 As for the accuracy of the analysis: because analysis is a dynamic process, involving an ongoing exchange between producers of texts and analysts, whatever in the analyst's judgement is inappropriate is withdrawn in the course of the analysis; it has to drop out and be replaced by something more correct.47

The analysis of cultural texts stands for the analysis of the text-producers themselves. In this context, the idea of the 'transference neurosis' is a fascinating and fruitful one. In the clinical setting this refers to an 'artificial neurosis' which occurs in the patient in relation to the therapist and stands for the presenting illness. Once this neurosis has been mastered the original illness also disappears: 'A person who has become normal and free from the operation of repressed instinctual impulses in his relation to the doctor will remain so in his own life after the doctor has once more withdrawn from it' (although an editor's note at this point in the Introductory Lectures refers the reader to the New Introductory Lectures where Freud is less optimistic).48

Applying this idea to the cultural arena would imply that the real relation of cultural critics to aspects of civilization be replaced by a simulacrum: a space of contestation in which analyst and analysand debate the meaning of the texts produced by both. Out of this dialectical process proceeds, for any given period of the life of any given culture, the judgements about the nature and the worth of that culture. And out of this simulated discourse - the only possible way of coming to terms with something as dispersed and complex as the whole of a culture - emerges a quasi-rational meta-text, which is the set of the critical views of the culture in question. To anticipate Bateson once again: the insertion of such a simulacrum into cultural debate is like the insertion of a degenerative element into what would otherwise be a vicious cycle leading to neurosis-like schismogenesis.

Let us examine more closely the relevance of the basic elements of transference. It has an unusually complex field of reference: not just 'a special emotional attachment'49 to the analyst, but also one of the most significant media or 'tools' of the analysis (Freud writes that transference is the 'best tool' of the analyst50), as well as the whole arena in which the dynamic process of analysis is played out.

In his first published case study, that of 'Dora', Freud deals for the first time with the concept of 'transferences', explaining that

... they are new editions or facsimiles of the impulses and phantasies which are aroused and made conscious during the progress of the analysis; but they have this peculiarity, which is characteristic of their species, that they replace some earlier person by the person of the physician.51

As the concept developed and changed, 'transference' was destined to become the most important means of the conduct of the analysis: it virtually became the analysis - so it is vital to understand the process by which Freud arrived at the notion; and it was in this case, because of its 'unusual clarity which makes it seem so suitable as a first introductory publication,' that he examines the concept for the first time.52

In Dora's case, the claim that the analyst makes is that his patient had transferred onto himself some of the 'affection' that he supposed she felt first for her father and then for the gallant Herr K. In the Postscript to the case study Freud writes:

At the beginning it was clear that I was replacing her father in her imagination, which was not unlikely, in view of the difference between our ages. She was even constantly comparing me with him consciously, and kept anxiously trying to make sure whether I was being quite straightforward with her, for her father 'always preferred secrecy and roundabout ways.'53

In the next phase of the relationship, Freud suggests that he should have pointed out to Dora that she had transferred to himself her interest in Herr K., which had supposedly been aroused by the latter's explicit indication of his own interest (in an act of what we would now call sexual harassment).

'Now,' I ought to have said to her, 'it is from Herr K. that you have made a transference on to me. Have you noticed anything that leads you to suspect me of evil intentions similar (whether openly or in some sublimate form) to Herr K.'s? Or have you been struck by anything about me or got to know anything about me which has caught your fancy, as happened previously with Herr K.?'54

Freud does not give a reason as to why he failed to point out to 'Dora' that she was unconsciously attracted to him (he was 44 at the time; she was 18), except to say that it was 'owing to the readiness with which Dora put one part of the pathogenic material at my disposal during the treatment' that he did not 'look out for the first signs' of transference.55 This double failure leads to the suspicion that there is something that the writer is repressing, whether consciously or not. The question that I have just quoted that he later thought of asking his client is remarkably insistent on the point whether or not Dora thought Freud capable of 'evil intentions,' which he might in her opinion have been manifesting whether openly or in disguise. The suspicion inevitably arises that Freud was lusting after Dora in much the same way as Herr K. He quickly moves on, though, without considering that possibility, to the alternative: that Dora noticed something about the physician that 'caught her fancy.' And again it is difficult to avoid the idea that this is Freud's fantasy, rather than his patient's.

Freud suggests that the treatment, at least in this case, could only have been continued if he himself had manifested a similar emotional involvement: what was to become known as 'counter-transference'. His view, however, is that he did not engage in counter-transference: '... I have always avoided acting a part, and have contented myself with practising the humbler arts of psychology.'56 However, he was clearly emotionally involved with his young 'patient', a fact which comes across more because of his denials than because of his confession. The fact that he at least felt an emotional involvement, even if he did not allow it to become part of the transactions in the demonstrable relationship, is indicated by the personal hurt that he indicates in writing: 'Her breaking off so unexpectedly, just when my hopes of a successful termination of the treatment were at their highest, and her thus bringing those hopes to nothing - this was an unmistakable act of vengeance on her part.'57

It was revenge, he asserts, that Dora was taking on Freud, revenge that had been transferred from Herr K. towards whom, for deceiving and deserting her, it was originally directed. Because of some

unknown quantity in me which reminded Dora of Herr K., she took her revenge on me as she wanted to take her revenge on him, and deserted me as she believed herself to have been deceived and deserted by him.58

The resemblance between the two injured parties is striking: each has been deceived and deserted; and each takes revenge. Freud's revenge, I believe, is in writing the case study account - with its double betrayal of Dora: firstly, in having told her secrets to anyone who came across the account (though of course she is disguised), and secondly, in attributing to her the writer's own desires and fantasies. And I believe a key is to be found in Freud's guess as to what was the 'unknown quantity' which caused Dora to break off the 'treatment'. He makes two suggestions: 'I suspect that it had to do with money, or with jealousy of another patient who had kept up relations with my family after her recovery.'59

I take up the second suggestion first, and suggest in my turn, continuing with the hypothesis that Freud attributes his own desires and fantasies to Dora, that this is a disguise for Freud's jealousy in relation to Dora, who had also kept up relations with a member of his family, namely Freud himself, after her recovery. What makes Freud really upset is that Dora has recovered without his assistance, and in much less time than he had proposed it would take, with the 'treatment'. He had 'informed her that her complete recovery would require perhaps a year.' But Dora thought that 'was too long for her; she would never have the patience to wait so long.'60 Shortly - in fact only four or five weeks - after ceasing to see Freud, 'A great improvement had then set in; her attacks had become less frequent and her spirits had risen.'61 Dora was evidently a strong-minded person who 'refus[ed] ... to be accompanied, and preferr[ed] to go alone.'62 Freud obviously found it very difficult to come to terms with an (impatient) 'patient' who not only refused his help but got better anyway without it. It is clear evidence of his involvement with her, his 'counter-transference', that he sees her departure, not as an admirable indication of her strength and independence, but as a cruel and revengeful act directed against himself. This is (part of) his conclusion.

If cruel impulses and revengeful motives, which have already been used in the patient's ordinary life for maintaining her symptoms, become transferred on to the physician during treatment, before he has had time to detach them from himself by tracing them back to their sources, then it is not to be wondered at if the patient's condition is unaffected by his therapeutic efforts. For how could the patient take a more effective revenge than by demonstrating upon her own person the helplessness and incapacity of the physician?63

I draw attention to the phrasing of 'demonstrating upon her own person,' stating as it does in a striking way one of the points that I wish to make to make, that bodies may have texts inscribed on them, and those texts can be interpreted. This particular example is all the more striking for being an example of a meaning which is not about dysfunctionality, but about its converse: Dora 'sent a message' to Freud by becoming healthy, by demonstrating the absence of symptoms.

I draw attention also, getting back to my main conclusion at this point, to the tone of distress adopted by the 'helpless and incapacitated' physician in his account of his betrayal: as I suggest, still an indication of his emotional state at the time of the events, even though recollected in tranquillity.

I return now to the second of the two reasons given by Freud for the termination of the 'treatment': something 'to do with money.' There are a number of contracts (which by legal definition require consideration - usually financial - to be contractual) in this story. There are the employment contracts with the various employees who are mentioned: governesses, maidservants etc., and then there is Freud, who would have entered into a contract with Dora's father to be paid in exchange for 'curing' the 'patient' that he sent to him. Freud himself makes the comparison with his own position and that of Dora's governess: 'You gave me a fortnight's notice, just like a governess,' he tells her.64 Being a governess of course does not make it impossible for one to be emotionally involved with the people by whom one is employed: we had earlier been told that Dora 'saw that the governess was in love with her father.'65 But engaging in such an employment contract does involve a requirement that, due to the responsibility borne with regard to the dependent partners in the relationship it is important not to confuse roles and to see the child (or her father) as a love-object. The analogy between the governess and the physician is clear, and barely disguised in Freud's text. The psychoanalyst has a duty of care towards his client similar to that which is entrusted to the governess. In both sets of relationships it is inappropriate for individuals to fall in love with others involved in the professional contract. Losing a sense of proper proportion in the kind and degree of care involved may result in its termination. So Dora first had the governess dismissed when the latter was devoting more attention to her father than to the child herself, and next dismissed Freud with 'a fortnight's notice.' As in the case of the governess, so in that of the psychotherapist, it seems to me that Dora felt she was not being paid enough attention by one who was engaged for that purpose. Rather than her own needs being attended to, those that were paramount were those of the researcher, who was seeking confirmation of his various hypotheses, among which were the idea that sexual drives are so ubiquitous and powerful that a fourteen-year-old girl should feel 'a distinct feeling of sexual excitement' when seized and forcibly kissed by a much older married man, and that if she did not then 'the behaviour of this child of fourteen was already entirely and completely hysterical,' simply and solely because she 'had at that moment a violent feeling of disgust.'66 Freud's theory required this diagnosis.

I should without question consider a person hysterical in whom an occasion for sexual excitement elicited feelings that were preponderantly or exclusively unpleasurable; and I should do so whether or no the person were capable of producing somatic symptoms.67

What seems to me be to mostly in question is not the appropriateness of a sexual response, but whether or not this was in fact truly 'an occasion for sexual excitement.' Freud's reception of the mores of his society seems to require the conclusion that any post-pubertal female is not only nubile but should be prepared to return appropriate responsiveness, if not gratitude, to any kind of recognition and approach on the part of a member of the more powerful gender. Freud is very aware of the potential and power of sexual relations but much less involved with relationships of power as such, and is not interested in considering any inequities that might exist in the culture with respect to employers and employees, parents and children, and men and women (or, more especially here, girls). This is therefore another example of the particular kind of cultural unconscious, or non-conscious, that I am concerned to expose in this book: where the mind-culture relationship renders some phenomena unspeakable although potentially thinkable, invisible while in plain view. When Dora dismisses Freud, just like a governess, she is silently but somatically refusing the social contract that he is thrusting on her, to conform to her side of the sexual power relationship, and insisting on her right to make any such contract as a free and independent individual. She is reversing the polarities of the transference relationship and sending Freud back out through the door in which he came, as a mere employee of her father's and, more generally, of the system MC.

But although transference seems to have failed completely in its first recorded use in the field, it has arguably still a function to perform. Certainly Freud thought that he had helped Dora in the relatively short time they spent together. He writes: 'I am not inclined to put too low a value on the therapeutic results even of such a fragmentary treatment as Dora's.'68 Even if Freud's analysis of Dora was flawed, and perhaps for the very reason that he gives, that he was not on the lookout for the effects of transference and its counterpart, the fact that my analysis of his analysis is able to continue to be carried out in the terms of his suggests the efficacy of the procedure generally, and its necessity. Human culture needs analysis, just as analysis needs a site for its work: the relationship is essential for each to continue to exist. And the relationship of exchange will only be meaningful if there is a attachment of affect to the communications. In the same way that psychoanalytic patients must detach part of their libido from the dominance of their egos and transfer it to the person of the analyst, so, in the case of cultural analysis, must be there a libidinal charge to the culture-text, an energy with which the analyst cathects. This, in the former situation, is in order that a transference illness (or neurosis) can come into existence, a field of simulation in which the trauma can be rediscovered and resolved. In the latter case, it is a question of a simulacrum of cultural exchange where the great questions can be rehearsed in miniature, as it were, to move towards an entente on the small scale, before projecting it into the larger arena. Freud himself, as it happens, uses the metaphor of a battlefield for the analysis: 'Thus the transference becomes the battlefield on which all the mutually struggling forces should meet one another.'69 My intention in this project is to put this tenor in the place of the vehicle (to speak in rhetorical terms), the horse in fact back before the cart, in placing the resources of psychoanalysis at the disposal of anthropology/sociology. And on this basis, in order to understand the nature of the transference between culture and analyst, and the dynamism of the forces at work in the field of exchange, it is necessary to examine the systematic nature of the relationship between mind, text and culture.

Upon entry into what Lacan calls the Symbolic Order, we are interpellated into the values of our culture, retaining them, in the Freudian metapsychology, in the superego, which has the function of their maintenance, in overseeing the ego's actions, basically to avoid fear and guilt - and they are inscribed in what I call supertext. Culture is inscribed in the collective mind: and in that each individual participates in the culture - in that the culture and the self are imbricated with each other - they participate in each other as readers, in the consumption of texts. These may be manifest cultural texts (or 'culture-texts'), or they may be read 'in the unconscious,' as supertext. There may also be culture-texts which are in themselves supertexts as such (or at least the tangible aspects of them), in that they are so crucial in the process of our adjustment to social life: nursery rhymes and 'fairy stories' (or folktales) are examples; the Common Law is an obvious example (and/or the Criminal Code, depending on the mode in which criminal law exists). Supertexts convey significant cultural messages which we are told it is of primary importance for us to introject (or to represent in the unconscious), and, in this way, to make them present and meaningful in our daily lives.

Two essential presumptions for a psychoanalytic theory of the existence of a cultural unconscious are: the process of repression, which is the means of inscription ('The repressed is the prototype of the unconscious for us'70); and the existence of 'an unconscious,' which is the 'place' of writing (although the later Freudian adjectival formation is preferable: by means of which we would write 'unconscious phenomena' rather than 'the unconscious'). And essential presumptions of the analysis of the contents of this unconscious are the notion of the return of the repressed, and of word-presentations, that is, of textual re-presentations. ('These word-presentations are residues of memories they were at one time perceptions, and like all mnemic residues they can become conscious again.'71)

The important thing to grasp is that morality does not only proceed from a rational function of the mind that is completely under our conscious control: it is also an aspect of our unconscious lives, of which we become aware only partially and in fragments, and through processes which are powerfully homologous with the process of clinical psychoanalysis.

The superego penetrates into the unconscious (further than the ego) both in the individual and in the culture.72 The cultural superego is no less unconscious than the individual, and participates, therefore, in the cultural unconscious, producing propositions and messages there: 'reproaches', and 'demands'.73 Freud suggests that some of the 'manifestations', i.e. texts, of the cultural superego 'can be more easily detected in its behaviour in the cultural community than in the separate individual.'74

Because of the two-fold nature of the superego, in having both conscious and unconscious aspects, supertext will also be shown to have a perhaps confusingly double nature. Freud points out, of the superego, that 'its actual demands often remain unconscious in the background. If we bring them to conscious knowledge (as word-presentations), we find that they coincide with the precepts of the prevailing cultural super-ego.'75 That is, supertext may be simultaneously available to consciousness (as 'precepts of the prevailing cultural super-ego') while at the same time being transmitted as unconscious 'actual demands'. It is for this reason that I say that supertexts are readily available in their conscious, cultural aspect and relatively simple to analyse. What is difficult is to bring to awareness the force of the superego agency in producing the unconscious texts which regulate so much of cultural behaviour, and often in a way which is illogical, contradictory, and counter-productive to the interests of society as a whole.

So, some supertexts, such as the codes of laws and rules already mentioned, may appear at first to be relatively straightforward, being, in their conscious, iterable manifestation, readily available. For Freudian theory, the challenge is in discovering the complexity that reveals the unconscious functions of supertexts more generally; once their existence is established, it then becomes a matter for analysis to reveal their shifting, changing nature. In fact, they would rightly have been regarded by Freud with suspicion, as being the source of many of the 'discontents' of civilization.

The recondite phenomenon that has been 'dis-covered' again in this Chapter, re-using the theory of psychoanalysis, is the repressed - or at least the latent portion of the - superego. To put it in less technical terms: some of the contradictions and paradoxes in Freud's case study accounts have been found to be due to the operation of the superego. Not only have some of Freud's own repressed libidinal drives been shown to be breaking through the smooth surface of his writing, but his unconscious determination to conform culturally has also been seen to be a powerful factor in the way he has gone about writing up his analyses. One of the great discoveries of psychoanalysis was the uses to which an understanding of the personal unconscious may be put; to complement that there is a need to recognise the equally powerful operations of the cultural superego in the cultural unconscious - or non-conscious.

I have thus far attempted to establish the possibility of using a methodology of levels which is analogous to the structural hypotheses of psychoanalysis, but in practice is like that of exegesis or explication. I have tried to show the usefulness of considering a range of phenomena as texts which can be analysed by established and reliable methods. I have proposed that these texts can be seen to exhibit a range from the unitary and the simple to the complex and manifold, but that it is possible to see some types along that range, and so to be able to describe some typical textual manifestations. I have placed this whole apparatus at the service of a psychoanalytical approach with the intention of discovering how a certain kind of text is received and reproduced 'in the unconscious.' I intend to carry out further investigations to show to what extent these activities of production and reproduction exhibit a systematic relationship between what we normally think of as disparate phenomena: mind and culture; in order to propose the existence of a system which includes them both: system MC.


referring to the Bibliography

1 Mauromatis 1991.
2 Foucault 1986 [1967]: 2.
3 Foucault 1986 [1967]: 4.
4 1916-17, SE 15-6, 264-84.
5 1916-17, SE 15-6: 266 [italics added].
6 1916-17, SE 15-6: 267 [italics added].
7 1916-17, SE 15-6: 268.
8 1905e [1901], SE 7: 70 n.
9 1900a, SE 4: 100. [Editor's footnote: "Auflösing" and "Lösung" in the original.] Freud 1895d, with Breuer.
10 Poetics, Chapter 18; although L. J. Potts, the Editor of the 1953 Cambridge University Press edition, suggests that 'The modern use of the word dénouement does not correspond exactly to Aristotle's definition ... of the "untying of the knot," which may begin at the very beginning of the play.': 86; and his translation uses 'untying': 40-41.
11 Letter to Fliess of 12 June 1900 (Freud 1950a, Letter 137), quoted by the editor in 1900a, SE 4: 121 n.
12 1900a, SE 4: 120.
13 Collins German Dictionary, 1980.
14 1900a, SE 4: 107.
15 1901b, SE 6: 79-80.
16 1900a, SE 4: 113.
17 1900a, GW 2-3: 118.
18 Schur 1966, 1972.
19 Freud 1950a.
20 Masson 1984.
21 Masson's note runs: 'Ronald Clark, in Freud: The Man and the Cause (Random House, New York, 1980), p. 149, writes that "Irma's real name was Emma."21 It is likely that he took this from Paul Roazen's Freud and his Followers (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976), p. 249: "In the early 1890s Fliess had operated on the nose of one of Freud's patients, Irma (Emma Eckstein)." Roazen cites as his source an interview he had with Alfred Hirst. I saw the interview, and Hirst does not actually state that Irma is Emma; this is Roazen's surmise. Didier Anzieu, in L'auto-analyse de Freud (2nd ed.; Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1975), I, p. 190, suggests that Irma is Anna Hammerschlag. This is also Marianne Krüll's opinion in Freud and sein Vater (Munich: C. H. Beck, 1979), p. 37. Anna Hammerschlag was the godmother of Anna Freud. Her husband (Lichtheim), who died after they were married for one year, saw Freud very briefly, which would explain why her name is never mentioned in the letters to Fliess. Anna Freud confirmed to me that she was "Irma". Cf. Jones (I, p. 245).' Masson 1984: 205, n. 1.
22 1916-7, SE 15-16: 171. Penguin 205.
23 Masson 1984, Chapter 3, is my source for all of the material concerning Emma Eckstein which follows, including Freud's letters to Fliess.
24 Schur 1966: 67.
25 Masson 1984: 207-8, note 15, quotes letters of 17 October 1910 and 16 December 1910 from Freud to Ferenczi in which he writes of the 'greater independence that comes from having overcome my homosexuality', and he has 'now overcome Fliess.'
26 1933a, SE 22: 62.
27 1930a, SE 21: 89-95.
28 1930a, SE 21: 89.
29 The Editor's Note at this point reads: '"Kultur." For the translation of this word see the Editor's Note to The Future of an Illusion, p. 4 above.' The Editor's Note referred to reads: 'In view of Freud's sweeping pronouncement on p. 6 ("I scorn to distinguish between culture and civilization"), it seems unnecessary to embark on the tiresome problem of the proper translation of the German word "Kultur". We have usually, but not invariably, chosen "civilization" for the noun and "cultural" for the adjective.' I have usually written 'culture', but have also referred to 'civilization' and 'society' in the same contexts.
30 1930a, SE 21: 89.
31 1930a, SE 21: 96-7.
32 1908b, SE 9: 169-75.
33 1930a, SE 21: 139-40.
34 1930a, SE 21: 141.
35 Barthes 1977: 142-8; Foucault 1977.
36 1916-7, SE 15-16: 22-3.
37 Freud [1897] SE 1: 265-6; Letter 71 to Fliess of 15 October 1897.
38 1923b, SE 19: 34-5.
39 1923b, SE 19: 38.
40 1908b, SE 9: 175.
41 1930a, SE 21: 97.
42 1916-7, SE 15-16: 22-3.
43 Freud, Sigmund 1972 [1915] (Letter to Lou Andreas-Salomé, 30 July 1915): 32.
44 Kaufmann 1980c: 45.
45 1916-7, SE 15-16: 451.
46 1916-7, SE 15-16: 445.
47 1916-7, SE 15-16: 452.
48 1916-7, SE 15-16: 444-5.
49 1916-7, SE 15-16: 17-18.
50 1916-7, SE 15-16: 444.
51 1905e [1901], SE 7: 116.
52 1905e [1901], SE 7: 118.
53 1905e [1901], SE 7: 118.
54 1905e [1901], SE 7: 118.
55 1905e [1901], SE 7: 118.
56 1905e [1901], SE 7: 109.
57 1905e [1901], SE 7: 109.
58 1905e [1901], SE 7: 119.
59 1905e [1901], SE 7: 119.
60 1905e [1901], SE 7: 119.
61 1905e [1901], SE 7: 121.
62 1905e [1901], SE 7: 119.
63 1905e [1901], SE 7: 120.
64 1905e [1901], SE 7: 107.
65 1905e [1901], SE 7: 36.
66 1905e [1901], SE 7: 28.
67 1905e [1901], SE 7: 28.
68 1905e [1901], SE 7: 120.
69 1916-7, SE 15-16: 454.
70 1923b, SE 19: 15.
71 1923b, SE 19: 20.
72 1933a, SE 22: 78-9.
73 1930a, SE 21: 141-3.
74 1930a, SE 21: 142.
75 1930a, SE 21: 142.


New: 8 August, 1996 | Now: 20 December, 2018